Category Archives: Youth Activities

Articles and other information about Ham Radio activities for young people. Our youth activities include GOTA events, our High Altitude Balloon project, help getting licensed and more.

Kids Day On The Air

Saturday, January 6th was ARRL Kids Day On the Air.  and we hosted a club event for kids at Fred, AB1OC and Anita, AB1QB’s QTH.  We had many fun activities for the kids including getting on the air via HF and Satellite, learning CW and demos of some cool Raspberry Pi projects.

Nora making her First Satellite Contact

Satellite Operation

The portable satellite station was set up and it was a great day for satellites as there were many good passes.  Fred helped many of the kids make their first Satellite contacts.

Keith, KC1IMK working the Satellites with Fred, AB1OC
Keith, KC1IMK working the Satellites with Fred, AB1OC

We had a total of 9 kids who participated in the event, along with their parents.

Mary, who attended with her brother, KA1LAS and father KC1IMI works the Satellites
Mary, who attended with her brother, KA1LAS, and her father KC1IMI, works the Satellites

Raspberry Pi, CW, Fox Hunting, and HAB Demos

We provided demos to the kids of several Raspberry Pi projects,  Pi-Lexa – a home built Raspberry Pi Alexa built by Connor, KC1GGX,  along with a CW decoder and the DX Alarm Clock.  Jamey, KC1ENX provided some CW demos including his favorite YouTube video – The Rhythm of the Code.  Fred, AB1OC did a show and tell of the High Altitude Balloon including pieces of the balloons that we in space and a Fox-Hunting demo.

HF Operation in the Shack
HF Operation in the Shack

We also went down to the shack and the kids got on the air and made some HF contacts.  Jamey, KC1ENX helped the kids to make contacts with other kids as well as adult Hams on the air.  The kids really enjoyed the HF operation. We did some live streaming on the N1FD Facebook page during the event.   Follow this link to see the live stream of some of our on-air activities during Kid’s Day.

AB1BY Gets On the Air

Abby, AB1BY shows off her log after running a huge pileup
Abby, AB1BY shows off her log after running a huge pileup

After most of the kids left, Abby, AB1BY took the mic and ran a huge pileup.  She was very popular on the air and did a great job of running the pileup.  We also streamed her pileup operation to Facebook and it got a huge response.

Overall, Kids Day On the Air was a fun day for both the kids and the adults.   We are looking forward to the next Kids Day in July!

Anita, AB1QB

Welcome to the New Executive Committee Members

As we just held our annual officer elections, I’d like to thank the departing officers for their service to the club.  Departing the Executive committee are:

  • Vice President, Dave Michaels, N1RF
  • Treasurer, Wayne Wagner, AG1A
  • Programs, Brian Smigielski, AB1ZO

Our Executive Committee members have worked hard to move the Nashua Area Radio Society forward this past year. Some of our major progress in 2017 includes:

2018 Executive Committee Members

I’d like to congratulate and welcome our new and returning Officers and Directors to the Executive Committee.  Our 2018 Officers and Directors are:

  • President, Fred Kemmerer, AB1OC
  • Vice President, Dave Merchant, K1DLM
  • Secretary, Brian McCaffrey, W1BP
  • Treasurer, Hamilton Stewart, K1HMS
  • Membership, Jamey Finchum, AC1DC
  • Programs, Scott Andersen, NE1RD
  • Activities, Anita Kemmerer, AB1QB

I am looking forward to working with the New Executive Committee a toward a successful 2018.

Students Analyze HAB-2’s Flight Data

The HAB team members in NARS have created a five-session curriculum to teach physics, atmospheric science, and radio technology that we use as part of our HAB launches. The last session is the most fun of all – analyzing the telemetry data from our HAB’s flight to see what the students can learn from it.

High-ALtitude Balloon Data Analysis
HAB-2 Flight Data Analysis

Our students at Bishop-Guertin High School that participated in our High-Altitude Balloon 2  launch this past weekend got together to analyze HAB-2’s flight data.  All of our students tracked HAB-2 using APRS.fi and were excited about the HAB’s flight and final altitude of almost 118,000 ft!

Flight Path

We began by reviewing our flight predictions and expectations for atmospheric conditions that we covered in our previous classroom sessions. You can see the materials that the students worked from via the preceding link. Also, the full set of data from HAB-2’s flight computer can be viewed as well.

HAB-2 Predicted Flight Path
HAB-2 Predicted Flight Path

We began by comparing the predicted flight path with the actual data from the APRS system on HAB-2.

HAB-2 Actual Flight Path
HAB-2 Actual Flight Path

The students concluded that the shape and direction of the predicted and actual paths matched quite well giving us confidence in the path modeling software.

Balloon Performance

Balloon Performance Calculator
Balloon Performance Calculator

They also noted the HAB-2’s ascent took longer and went much higher than the Balloon Calculator we had used predicted. After some thought, one of the students observed: “maybe we did not put enough helium in the balloon”.  This tuned out to be correct. We checked the scale that we used to set HAB-2’s lift with calibrated weights and we found an error in the scale’s calibration that led us to put about 200 g less lift (less Helium) in the balloon than our model required. We also used the same scale to weight the flight platform. These errors would certainly account for the higher altitude and long ascent times that we experienced.

Temperature and Pressure

High-Altitude Balloon Data Aalysis
GoPro Camera Early Shutoff vs. Temperature (click to enlarge)

The students also looked at the pressure and temperature data from the flight. The pressure was about what was expected but the students noticed that HAB-2 had flown through some temperatures as low as -70° F! The discussion turned to the question of why our video cameras had stopped recording at almost exactly the same time – 53 mins into the flight. An examination of our temperature data gave as a probable answer: the temperature took a dip to -50°F about the time that the GoPro video cameras shut off! Their LiPo batteries are only rated to about -40°F. We concluded that we’d need to find a way to keep the camera batteries warm during our next flight.

Other Questions

High-Altitude Balloon Data Analysis
High-Altitude Balloon Data Analysis Questions

The students discussed some additional questions and previewed some raw video from the flight and the recovery included a flight path simulation created by Wayne, AG1A.

HAB-2 Open House

Amatuer Radio Open House
Amateur Radio Open House

We are planning an open house for the students at our QTH to wrap up the project and to preview the final light video. Members of NARS are welcome to join us for the open house. You can find more information about it here.

I especially want to thank all of the NARS members who worked to prepare for and assist the students with HAB-2:

Without our HAB team, HAB-2 and the STEM learning experience that it provided would not have been possible. Thank you all for helping us to create a positive STEM learning experience through Amateur Radio.

Fred, AB1OC

Abby, AB1BY Interview on Ham Nation

One of our own, Abby AB1BY appeared on Ham Nation on Wednesday, October 25th. The show including Abby’s interview was streamed live over the Internet. Gordon West, WB6NOA, interviewed Abby. You can view Abby’s Interview (about 3:22 in from the beginning) below:

Abby was quite a hit during her Ham Nation debut. The chatroom activity associated with her segment was off the charts! Gordon has invited Abby back to do a monthly segment on Ham Nation. Stay tuned!

Fred, AB1OC